Rural crime is an unfortunate term we’ve all come to know — whether we’ve encountered it ourselves, or had a neighbour in the area deal with an incident.
The question always is, what do we do about it? What is within the farmers’ rights when it comes to other people trespassing and stealing property?
Moose Jaw, Sask., farmer Nick Cornea wanted answers to this, and he saw an opportunity to take action.
In May 2018, Cornea founded “Farmers Against Rural Crime”, a Facebook group where people could gain support. The group, which now has over 17,000 members, spans from coast to coast in Canada, with some interest building in the United States.
“We’re trying to bring rural crime awareness to all of Canada,” Cornea says. “We work hand in hand with the RCMP in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta, as well as the local governments, and the federal Conservative party in Ottawa. We’re pushing to make law changes and policy changes to make it safer for everyone out in the rural areas.”
One of the main policy changes that Cornea has been working on is getting the provincial trespassing acts changed.
“That came down and was passed within the last month, so that’ll be coming into effect shortly. It will help farmers with trespassing, rummaging through old sites, stuff like that. It’ll help to charge (trespassers) and help keep the criminals accountable,” says Cornea. “Also with the federal government, we are working with the motion M-167, which was the inquiry with rural crime in Western Canada. We are trying to get some actual action going and have something come down the pipeline.”
Farmers Against Rule Crime came to be after Cornea saw a post on Facebook that showed a farmer in Alberta that pursued someone that stole from his farm, and he knew there was something that needed to be changed.
“I thought ‘this is an epidemic. This needs to stop.’ I was really just tired of hearing everyone with the mainstream media where we were being called ‘racist, redneck farmers’ that are just wanting to shoot up the countryside and kill anyone on our property. And I thought ‘that’s not who I am, I couldn’t live with killing someone, and my life isn’t worth the property of someone else,” he says. “I just want it safer for my family, for my friends, for my neighbours. So I fired up the computer and looked for more support from other farmers.”
To learn more about Farmers Against Rural Crime, watch the interview between field editor Kara Oosterhuis and Nick Cornea at Canadian Farm Progress Show, below: